Tuesday 28 February 2017

Healy set to get front-row seat for Warriors clash

Hugh Farrelly

CIAN HEALY is set to form an all-Irish international front-row alongside Sean Cronin and Mike Ross when Leinster name their team today to face Glasgow in Sunday's Heineken Cup showdown in Firhill.

South African loose-head Heinke van der Merwe started Leinster's last away fixture in the competition, the 18-13 win in Bath, as well as the opening draw in Montpellier, when Healy was injured.

But the Ireland prop is in line to get the nod against Glasgow.

The Warriors will be without Scotland tight-head Moray Low, ruled out of the start of the Six Nations with a medial ligament injury, for the clash and Leinster are certain to target their scrum through their own World Cup front-row.

Last weekend, Leinster started 15 Irish qualified players in their Pro12 win away to Cardiff and Isa Nacewa could be the only non-Irish qualified starter in a team that should include a clutch of players set to be named in Declan Kidney's Six Nations squad next week.

Leinster are hopeful Gordon D'Arcy will be fit to line out in midfield on Sunday after he picked up a rib injury against Cardiff and, with other Ireland internationals of the calibre of Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip, and Rob Kearney also ready to be included, Glasgow believe it will take a monumental effort to derail the champions this weekend.

"They are an extremely good team," said Glasgow forwards coach Shade Munro. "They are leading both the league and cup competitions comfortably.

"When we played them the last time they gave us a lesson in rugby and some of our guys just couldn't compete at that level."

Leinster won that first encounter 38-13 at the RDS, but Glasgow have a decent record in Firhill, having beaten Bath and Montpellier there, while last weekend's loss away to the Scarlets was their first Pro12 defeat since September.

"We enjoyed huge crowds at Murrayfield and then back at Firhill for the derby matches against Edinburgh and we have enjoyed a good run," said Munro.

"The crowd will now have the opportunity to watch the Heineken Cup champions play in Glasgow, and see how the Warriors can compete against them."

While Leinster have played in front of huge crowds in Lansdowne Road in the Heineken Cup, drawing more than 40,000 to the Aviva for their last win over Bath, Glasgow's aspirations are more modest at their 10,000-capacity home.

However, they are confident of breaking their European record attendance of 5,764 (set against Montferrand in 2001) when Leinster come calling, having attracted their best-ever gate of 8,852 for the New Year's Day win over Edinburgh.

Irish Independent

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